The Reason You Should Love Naomi Shropshire in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

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What is that crazy lady doing in the wonderful world of Rory Gilmore? She appears to be pointless other than reminding us that Rory has no idea what to do with her life. Let’s recap.

We first meet Naomi (played by Alex Kingston) during a luncheon where Rory presents the idea of writing a book on Naomi’s life. It would be an extension of the New Yorker piece that was recently published. Rory received rave reviews on her work, especially from “super proud” Luke who put it on the back of his menu. 

Through Rory and Naomi’s journey, Naomi elicits a lot of drinking, and wild stories while  acquiring food from other people’s order. At one point Naomi brings up the idea of a children’s book instead of a biography so she can avoid talking about her mother. She does not want to reveal too much to her mother, just like Lorelai does not want Emily to know that she left Rory in a bucket at a hardware store once upon a time. Although this is important, it’s not the most significant part about Naomi. In the last phone call to Rory, Naomi circles around the children’s book she wants to write using a whale and a mouse. Rory argues that it was not a mouse but a rabbit. The conversation blows up and ends with the dissolving of an unwritten book. 

But the story does get written. It is written through the lives of Emily, Lorelai and Rory. 

Emily the Whale

Emily goes through a difficult journey to figure out life without Richard. She acts out of character by purging her precious belongings, sleeping late and even wearing jeans! In “Fall”, Emily decides that she is going to move to Nantucket. She appears to be seeking solitude and peace even though she has filled the entire house with Berta’s extended family. 

Emily represents the whale in Naomi’s unwritten story. Whales are symbolic of finding peace and understanding life and death. She alleviates herself from the “bullshit” that is the DAR. She is not fleeing the life she made with Richard but is seeing her life in a new light. She even finds a job at the Whaling Museum. Who would have thought Emily Gilmore would ever work? 

Lorelai the Rabbit

While Emily discovers life in Nantucket, Lorelai sticks to Stars Hollow. All of Lorelai’s life and her relationship with her mother has been formed based on the birth of Rory. In the episode “Winter”, Luke and Lorelai seek out Paris (the fertility guru) in hopes of finding a surrogate to have a “fresh” child. She goes back and forth wondering if this will help her find fulfillment. It turns out the only thing she is missing is what her mother had for 50 years. She needed to marry Luke because their relationship was just as meaningful as Emily and Richard’s. During the top-secret, midnight ceremony, the small group gets to wander around the town square where Kirk finally did something right! Kirk (probably with the help of the whole town) adorned the entire square in a whimsical, Alice In Wonderland theme. As Lorelai unlocks the “OPEN ME” door to enter the space, viewers get a sense of falling down the rabbit hole. 

Rabbits are in tune with the changing of the seasons. Lorelai feels change in seasons like Apollo feels music. Seasons are so magical to her that she can summon flurries just by saying  “I smell snow.” Rabbits are often associated with fertility, which has surrounded Lorelai’s entire life. The birth of Rory shaped the path she chose and led her to Stars Hollow. She might appear to be late for a very important date, but it is better late than never. Lorelai and Luke found happiness.

Rory the Mouse

Mice also have a connection to earth. They burrow into the ground and sense home. Although the series begins with Rory only returning to Stars Hollow for a quick trip, she is eventually drawn more and more to her roots. She gives up her pad in Brooklyn, “breaks up” with Logan and is lured into becoming the editor for the Stars Hollow Gazette. When she receives an unexpected visit from Jess, she finally discovers her true calling. 

Unlike Lorelai, who has represented a rabbit for quite some time, Rory becomes the mouse. Rory decides to write in Richard’s office, probably inspired by the muse inside her. In medieval Europe mice were thought to be able to carry souls of humans that have moved on to another life. When we find out that Rory is pregnant, it alters the whole Gilmore world and makes things come full circle. She and Lorelai have swapped positions from the opening scene while sitting in the gazebo. Rory’s oversized red sweater is reminiscent of the sweater Lorelai was wearing the day she gave birth to her. Rory, the mouse, is carrying the reincarnated soul of Richard Gilmore. 

Thank you, Naomi Shropshire. I thought I hated you, but you made me love the Gilmore Girls even more. 

This post is brought to you by Karen Hardcastle

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12 thoughts on “The Reason You Should Love Naomi Shropshire in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

  • November 30, 2016 at 10:05 am
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    About the Revival … I’ve read a lot of comments about it, some positive and some very negative about those incredible four last words. Well, I respect everyone’s opinion and expectation. But..
    I confess that in the last months I was potentially anxious, I marathoned the 7 seasons for several times, I memorized until you speak, because Gilmore Girls for me is something special. It’s more than a show, and as the Gilmores themselves say, “it’s a lifestyle,” “a religion.”
    When we begin to watch the show it is still that simplicity, but that already has something simply deep and that captivates day by day. The magic of the setting, the charisma of the characters, the richness of the plot and an incredibly intelligent script.
    Yeah … we really need a lot of coffee to keep up with the Gilmore style of life. It’s as if we lived in Stars Hollow, as if we were those old friends…
    Coming back to revival … I wonder, what would be perfect?
    Many have asked, “What would be Rory’s fate?” After all she’s been through, “Is there going to be a continuation?” Or, “There has to be a continuation” … It would be wonderful if we won a few more episodes or maybe a few more seasons, but …. my opinion on Revival may be contrary to what many have thought.
    First, even very anxious, I did not get carried away by the expectation … In several interviews, the stars said that the current story was no longer based on that school or university dilemma of Rory or even his old boyfriends … but it was about how would be the life of every Gilmore now, three women with their dilemmas, with their lives and trying to take them forward.
    Richard’s death, which was, in fact, a marked loss… Emilly’s mourning and her attempt to carry on, the pain that made her soft in some ways, such as no longer exchanging maids, breaking pride Which made her open the house to an entire family she did not even know.
    Lorelai rebuilt and matured her relationship with Luke … The inn without Sookie (she missed it), but I saw it as more of Lorelai’s responsibility to deal with this separation, because in fact life is like this, not everything always remains . As for her relationship with her mother, it had to be clarified one day, Lorelai took some time to find the roots that had driven her away from her parents all those years … she needed to find a way to meet in such a fast-paced life and that moment of silence looking at that immensity of nature, was like a catharsis, the luggage she carried and that she left on the way.. All this was important and liberating for her. And on the wedding scene, wow, she was beautiful, full, happy, with no ties, no luggage … It was sooooo perfect!!
    … Rory, which has been the issue for many … is, in fact, it seems that Rory had not rooted anywhere, full of uncertainty, from relationships barely resolved … Still seeking maturity. .. Paul, in my opinion, was like a representative of those problems that we often have and is procrastinating to solve, which by the way, always bothered her. As for the works, she wanted to be an international correspondent, got hits with the article published, but then? Try to fit into something when everything is not working?
    Returning home and helping out at Stars Hollow’s Gazette was the starting point, she needed to meet … And with so many comings and goings to London, Paul’s messages, uncertainty with Logan, sleeping with a guy she did not even know. … The reunion with Jess was like that bad experience in the past but it brought a great learning, that bond that was found so she could realize what she really had to do. .. Every plot in the series was about the incredible relationship of mother and daughter, and this could not be different now. Writing the book about their lives, for me was to relive each episode, to remember and relive every moment. I saw Rory’s maturity arrive when she was sitting in that window watching the sunrise, as if she were reborn a new path for her, leaving behind adventures, farewell to friends of the brigade of life and death … she knew exactly Where he would go, where would be his starting point.
    Back in the mansion, at the place of conception, where Lorelai started it all … the memory of the dinners, sitting in her grandfather’s office where she always admired and made all the difference in her life.
    The final four words … perhaps the result of her choices, uncertainties, may be … perhaps the key to a new story, or perhaps just the completeness of the life cycle.
    But, in my heart, particularly…. nothing, just nothing has taken away the magic of the four episodes. Winter, spring, summer and fall. As we also have seasons, some cycles close and others open. I cried a lot, a lot, a lot and when I remember the scenes I cry again … because yes, I say and I repeat, it was perfect!
    I did not look for analysis in what I saw, I just gave in to feel … between the lines. Perhaps the perception of perfect is not to be so perfect, sometimes acts do not speak, but expressions yes, songs, laughter, and often the answers are not in appearance, but in essence!
    “Some things never change”, others, most of them need to change … As in fall, and the leaves need to fall because the time has come for things to change!!
    (PS: but like every good fan of Gilmore Girls, it’s … we want more!)
    PS2: Sorry, I don’t speak english very weel!

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    • November 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm
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      I agree completely..u worded it perfectly.

      Reply
  • November 30, 2016 at 10:06 am
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    Very nice piece. There are so many layers to this revival that can be unlocked with this kind of close reading. This kind of analysis that takes the show on its own terms (vs. some of the think pieces I’ve seen in major online magazines that seem to think we should look at the revival through the lens of sociological realism.

    It doesn’t have to be either / or, but some of people writing think pieces seem mystified — like they took a template for writing about “serious TV” and tried to apply it to Gilmore without regard to genre.

    Have you seen this piece looking at Rory’s story in terms of the Wizard of Oz? https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/11/why-gilmore-girls-obsession-with-oz-is-the-key-to.html

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    • November 30, 2016 at 2:27 pm
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      The OZ piece is amazing!!

      Reply
  • November 30, 2016 at 10:12 am
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    I guess you are right with this whale/rabbit/mouse thing, but it is pretty cryptic. What is the source for these animal archetypes?

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  • November 30, 2016 at 11:02 am
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    I think Niomi’s purpose was a different one – her craziness brought up/showed Rory’s skills and personality. For example, when Niomi offers her from the stolen food – Rory appreciates food, and is adventurous enough to try something that’s unknown and not theirs to eat. She doesn’t interrupt Niomi in her habits and thought process, but goes along with it. Niomi first mentioning those animals and Rory asking which Niomi sees herself as shows that although she sounds silly, Niomi has Rory’s undivided attention. Under these circumstances, that’s certainly not easy, but Rory is professional enough to inquire what Niomi is talking about (rather than just ignoring the blabbering).
    Later, Niomi changing her mind in a rage (and via a lawyer) shows what Rory has been putting up with in her field – little security, but having to constantly adjust and deal with extraordinary characters. Considering the level of nuttiness in Ms Shrobshire, Rory shows remarkable people skills in my opinion.

    Finally, Rory refuses t let Niomi convince her that she was talking about a mouse, and insists that it was a rabbit. Although the book project has just died, she is rightly confident in her memory and makes it clear that no one can pretend to have said something else than they actually did, and get away with it.
    I think this shows strength of character. A weaker person may have just been like, ‘Whatever… maybe it was a mouse, then’. Rory, however, stays determined and true to her values.

    Although I don’t care much for Ms Shropshire personally, I do think a character like her was necessary for us to, firstly, see that Rory works and, secondly, see how she does it and what kind of a person she is. We can indeed learn a lot about 32-year-old Rory.

    Finally,

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  • November 30, 2016 at 11:55 am
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    Amazing post!!! Great job. Very interesting!

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  • November 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm
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    Loved this post until that last little bit. Symbolism, sure. I get that Makes some sense. Then, BAM, reincarnated soul of Richard? Where on earth did that come from?

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  • November 30, 2016 at 8:43 pm
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    What a great article, I never would’ve put that symbolism together from the random comments that drunk woman ranted about throughout the episodes. Thanks so much for sharing!! Love this perspective.

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  • December 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm
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    Fabulous take, really loved the article.

    Reply

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